A new report on the life sciences sector rom intellectual property specialists Marks & Clerk claims that while the USA and China top the list for market attractiveness, Europe is coming "a poor third, only just ahead of India and south-east Asia".

The study, based on a survey of 338 members of the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries (including senior executives, researchers, academics, and investors) claims that "the rise of Asia, combined with a persistently tough global economic environment, is transforming the landscape of the life sciences industry". Respondents predict a significant increase in industry investment in Asia in the areas of marketing, sales, and advertising (84%), production capability (80%) and R&D capability (69%) in the next five years. Two-thirds stated that "the rise of China will fundamentally transform the global life sciences industry".

However, Marks & Clerk claims that "sentiment regarding regulatory regimes has yet to catch up with this new world order". The USA and Europe receive the biggest vote of confidence (47% and 42% ranking them as attractive, respectively), while a quarter of respondents find the Chinese system unattractive and 23% say the same for India. A significant minority regards the latter two countries as both a regulatory and IP "minefield" (15% and 17% respectively).

Among the other findings, two-thirds of respondents believe the situation regarding funding and investment has yet to recover from the post-financial crisis dip, and only one in five feel the economic climate has improved for their organisation in the last year. 63% predict major consolidation in the sector over the next three years.

Commenting on the study, Gareth Williams, a partner at Marks & Clerk, said it confirms "the significance of the world’s second largest economy to the industry, and the transformative effect its rise is likely to have on the sector". He added that this transformation will include both inward and outward investment as China becomes a key global R&D centre".

Mr Williams claimed, however, that "further down the line, China may even lose its status as a global manufacturing hub, with the development of manufacturing centres in countries like Malaysia, Vietnam, India and Indonesia".